Physics 664 - Theoretical Mechanics - Spring 2010

Contact Information

Prof. Ralf Bundschuh

Office:2010 Physics Research Building
Office hours:after class and any time I am in my office
Phone (office):(614) 688-3978
Phone (home):(614) 876-2372

Grader: Yi-Hsuan Lin

Office:3006 Physics Research Building
Office hours:by appointment
Phone:(614) 247-8203

General Information

Classes:Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9:30am-10:18am
Location:Smith Lab 2186
First class:Monday, March 29
Midterm exams:Tuesday, April 27, 9:30am-10:18am; Tuesday, May 11, 9:30am-10:18am
No class:Monday, May 31 (memorial day)
Last class:Friday, June 4
Final exam:Tuesday, June 8, 9:30am-11:18am
Credit hours:4
Prerequisites: 262 (dynamics of particles and waves II) and Math 255 (differential equations and their applications) or equivalent


In this class, we will deepen our understanding of classical mechanics. We will first review Newtonian mechanics of single particles and specifically discuss oscillators. Then, we will develop the Lagrangian formulation of mechanics. We will close the quarter with the discussion of rigid body rotations and an introduction to the mechanics of continuous media.


The class will closely follow

If you do not like the textbook or if you are just interested in reading things from a different point of view, you may want to look at the following textbooks.


The grade for this class is determined by a weighted average of the weekly problem sets, the midterm exams and the final exam. There will be no curve grading and I hope that everybody will get an A. The final grades will be determined according to the following scheme:

Problem Sets (20%)

Problem sets will be handed out every Thursday starting on April 1. The problem sets will also be available on Carmen. The problem sets are due the following Thursday. Students who cannot attend class are requested to give their solutions to a fellow student or deposit them in my mailbox in the physics business office on the same day. If you have a good reason for not being able to complete your homework by the due date please contact me for approval of an extension and exclusively put it into my mailbox by the approved extended deadline. In the interest of protecting the grader from extra work due to homework trickeling in late unapproved late homework will not be accepted.

The solutions of the problem sets will be discussed during each Thursday's class. You are strongly encouraged to discuss about the problem sets (and any other aspect of the class) with your fellow students. Group solutions to problem sets by two people working together are accepted. However, the solutions have to be hand-written by both students, either alternating weekly or within one week's solutions. Typed solutions will not be accepted.

Midterm Exams (20% each)

The midterm exams will take place on Tuesday, April 27, and on Tuesday, May 11, 9:30am-10:18am. Students which have any problem with the dates of the exams are asked to contact me as soon as possible. The first midterm exam will contain a problem related to the problem sets up to the one due on April 22 (set number 3) and a few conceptional questions related to the lectures up to the class on April 26. The second midterm exam will contain a problem related to the problem sets up to the one due on May 6 (set number 5) and a few conceptional questions related to the lectures up to the class on May 10. They will be closed book exams.

Final Exam (40%)

The final exam will take place on Tuesday, June 8, 9:30am-11:18am. Students which have any problem with the date of the exam are asked to contact me as soon as possible.

The exam will contain several problems which will have a close resemblance to the problem sets of the full quarter with a strong emphasis on the second half of the quarter. There will be one problem asking for conceptual understanding and knowledge of basic definitions. It will be a closed book exam.

Reading assignments (0% but required)

From time to time reading assignments of sections of the textbook will be given. These reading assignments will be announced in Carmen as well as in class. The excerpts from the book will be available on Carmen. On days on which reading assignments are discussed in class you have to answer some questions about the reading in Carmen by 3am before the class. Your answers will not be graded; the only requirement is that you do take the questionnaires. However, since the answers to these questions will help focus the discussion during the class to those issues you had difficulties with during your reading, it is in your owm interest to answer these questions as honestly as possible. It is also not implausible that some of these questions might reappear on the exams. In order to get a passing grade you are not allowed more than two missed reading assignment questionnaires. If you missed more than two reading assignments during the quarter, you will have to schedule an oral examination on the missed assignments with me before obtaining a passing grade.

Attendance (0%)

Attendance during the lectures is not required. However, the problem sets will be closely related to the contents of the class and it is every students responsibility to keep up with announcements, etc., made in class if not present.

Special needs

Students with any special needs are asked to inform me at their earliest convenience.

[OSU physics] [College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences] [The Ohio State University]
3/28/2010, Ralf Bundschuh